Advocate in harassment cases urged

December 16, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

The county Board of Education plans to consider allowing a student who brings a sexual harassment charge against a teacher to have an advocate present during questioning.

The board adopted a sexual harassment policy in July, and last night reviewed a proposal on how the complaint procedure would work.

Carolyn Roeding, president of the County Council of PTAs, told the board that teachers accused of sexual harassment or abuse are permitted to have an attorney present at any phase of an investigation. "Students should have the same rights as employees," she said.

The board asked its staff to draft a proposal on the student advocate for consideration at its Jan. 5 meeting.

The board last night also heard public testimony from Liz Greene, a representative of a Meade area parents organization, who urged the board to look closely at the effect that economic standing has on student test performance.

Having reviewed the data from the recent school report cards issued by the state Department of Education, Ms. Greene said, "There is an exact correlation -- the higher the number of students receiving reduced or free meals, the lower the test scores" at an individual school.

Ms. Greene also said that high school students in particular avoid signing up for free and reduced-cost meals to avoid a social stigma. "Kids would rather go hungry than fill out that ticket," she said.

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